Bugeja’s Scripps Award honors more than a decade of service to Greenlee School


Michael Bugeja, Director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. (Photo by Matt Wettengel)

When Michael Bugeja joined Iowa State University as Director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication in 2003, students were his top priority. More internships, more scholarships, and more ways for students to get involved were on his long list of ideas to restructure the school.

Nearly 13 years later, Bugeja’s energy and vision have helped distinguish the Greenlee School as one of the best journalism and communication programs in the nation. His leadership has earned him awards from ISU, as well as from regional and national organizations. Most recently, he has been named the 2015 Charles E. Scripps Journalism & Mass Communication Administrator of the Year, which honors college educators for excellence in administration and teaching.

“Dr. Bugeja’s prestigious, national award is well deserved,” Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. “It is a great recognition of his profound commitment to the Greenlee School, to student success, and to the journalism industry itself.”

Bugeja’s leadership extends beyond the walls of Hamilton Hall, which houses the Greenlee School. In 2008, he earned the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Award for Outstanding Leadership and in 2013 he received ISU’s Award for Outstanding Leadership. His dedication has helped increase Greenlee’s enrollment by 38 percent in the past five years. Endowments have grown from $800,000 when he joined Greenlee in 2003 to nearly $6 million today. And he has created invaluable partnerships in the industry, including the Meredith Apprenticeship Program.

“Dr. Bugeja’s impact can be seen in the way he has modernized the school, increased scholarship opportunities and worked to streamline curricula to ensure students graduate in a timely manner," said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in a Greenlee School press release. "His dedication to transparency and affordability in higher education has been a model for other institutions in the state and nation.”

Bugeja has worked tirelessly for Greenlee and for LAS. In addition to establishing the Meredith Apprenticeship Program, he helped add a new major – public relations – to the school’s offerings. He was part of a research team that received one of LAS’ first Signature Research Initiative Awards to examine new ways big data could help answer social science questions. He has helped lead an annual, school-wide celebration of the Chinese New Year since 2011, and his diversity efforts earned Greenlee the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Equity & Diversity Award in 2014.

In nearly 13 years, Bugeja lead a program from a point of near elimination to elite status. His Scripps Award rewards that dedication.

“It means the world to me because the Greenlee School is my world,” Bugeja said. “Everything I do professionally in one way or another is for the advancement of our program and especially its alumni, faculty, staff and students”

With Bugeja at the helm, Greenlee achieved two successful ACEJMC accreditations (with a third expected in May) and two Regents reviews in 12 years. Its faculty and staff have won nearly 40 LAS, University and national awards, and it’s raised millions of dollars for scholarships and professional development.

“When the Administrator Award is given in August in Minneapolis, during the keynote session of the AEJMC convention, I will ask the faculty and staff to stand and I will congratulate them for building something greater than themselves,” he said. “I consider myself a servant administrator beholden to the state of Iowa, its citizens and taxpayers, and the parents and relatives of our students. Servant administration is in the land-grant tradition. I hope to be remembered as servant.”

The Charles E. Scripps Award for the Journalism & Mass Communication Administrator of the Year is given in collaboration with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). It is open to any past or present administrator of a school, department of journalism or mass communication at accredited or non-accredited schools. The prize is $10,000.